TCEA 2007, A.K.A. Why I’m Looking Forward to Two Days Out of the Classroom

January 5, 2007 at 11:03 am 1 comment

Next month, I get to attend the TCEA convention in Austin, Texas.

I’m still relatively new to education so I’m not really sure about everything that this trip entails, but I AM sure that I couldn’t be much more excited about it.

I am hoping to come back with some great ideas. I know that I won’t be able to incorporate everything I see all at once (or maybe ever), but it always feels good to have too many ideas.

Must be that “overplanning” concept that they talked about in my certification classes.

The thing is, I’m a little bored this year. And I know that if I’m bored, my students are probably bored, too. They’re not saying it (in fact, they’re being little workhorses), but that kind of worries me. I feel like if they’re working without complaining, then I’m not challenging them.

And – let’s face it – I’m probably not.

So far, I have only come up with a couple of reasonable explanations for this.

1) I’m still learning what 10th- and 11th-grade “regular” classes feel like. I was an honors student in school, and I think my perception of what students can do is a little warped. I know I should have high expectations, but sometimes I wonder if I’m expecting them to do the amount of work an upper-level college student is capable of (because that’s the level of rigor most fresh in my head). I have to remember that they’re only 15-18 years old, but I also have to remember that really, they’re 15-18 years old; they’re not kindergarteners. It’s just tough to gauge when sometimes they struggle to finish what I think is a fairly easy assignment, while other times I think I’m loading them down with work…and they finish early.
2) I worry that they just aren’t in the mood to be challenged. The other day, my mom (who is an administrator in the same district where I teach) told me that the brain is less active while a person watches television than it is while they are sleeping. I wonder if this explains why my students are perfectly willing to do assignments on their laptops and watch movies, cartoons, etc. but the mention of a book elicits groans. Apparently, it’s more taxing to use one’s own imagination than it is to watch the product of someone else’s. And if my students aren’t up to that challenge, then what makes me think they’ll be up to one that, thanks to legislation, has almost nothing to do with anything that they’ll use in their real lives? I feel like the whole system is just beating all of us down.

But back to my point. I think technology is one of the keys to changing all of this.

For one thing, I can use Blackboard to create lessons that go in-depth for the students who need to be challenged, and cover the essentials for the ones who need a bit more time on concepts. It’s time-consuming up front, but worth it in the end.

Besides that, it’s much more interesting to work with technology than it is to work with a pencil and paper, and the more strategies I can incorporate into my classroom, the better!

I don’t know. I don’t really have any answers, but I’m open to all the suggestions I can get. If I can walk away from this conference with just one fresh idea, we’ll all be better off because of it.

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Entry filed under: Education, Technology.

This one’s for you, Angela. Freedom Writers

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. musingsfromtheacademy  |  January 6, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Sarah,

    I am glad you are excited about attending TCEA. I also think that your are doing the “right” thing by questioning the assignments and material you cover in class. I think that one of the things that makes teachers good is the fact that they do not become complacent – that they are willing to try new things, be innovative, learn new things and make mistakes. Good job!

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